It happens – feet get blistered. There are various stages and each needs treating slightly differently. But in all cases, the sooner you stop and sort it out, the better.
First of all, you may have a hot-spot developing. In this case the skin is intact and no blister has formed. There are two things you can try. You may try rubbing in a bit of Vaseline to take out some of the friction. Alternatively it might not be too late to tape the foot up with some zinc-oxide tape – or even some gaffa-tape!
If there is any blistering however and you have some distance to go it will need popping and dressing. Try and be as clean as possible with this whole process. Clean the surrounding skin and the blister using an alcohol wipe. Clean whatever you will pop it with using a wipe and maybe the flame of a lighter too. Once drained of fluid clean the surface once again, and when it’s dry apply a blister dressing such as Compede. A cheaper alternative is to use a non-adhesive dressing stuck down with the zinc-oxide tape – and possibly more durable too. At night time, remove any dressing, clean your feet and re-dress them the next day.
If it’s the end of a walk and you’re headed home then there is nothing to be gained by draining a blister – leave it intact, keep it clean, and allow nature, the fresh air and some rest to heal it for you.
Lesson #6 – take care of your boots
It’s not just your feet that need looking after. Keep your boots clean and allow air to dry them as much as possible. On a trek even if I can do nothing else I will pull out and air the insoles. Clean boots also allow the pores to breath – thus helping to keep your feet a bit dryer for a bit longer. Old newspaper is great for drying boots. Be sure to remove the first set of paper after about ten minutes – it’s likely to be sodden and unable to absorb any more water. Replace with more paper or leave your boots just to air out.
Finally, remember these sage words also inherited from my Sergeant Major: “Any fool can be uncomfortable”. Look after yourself – and now go and enjoy some mountains!
Further training for the outdoors
Will4Adventure are specialists in outdoor first aid running regular courses every month.